NIGERIA – The federal government of Nigeria has provided a N13 billion (US$33.5m) intervention fund for pest control across the country aimed to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities during 2020 farming season.

The funds are also meant to control trans-boundary pests and minimise the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic as well as guarantee both nutritional and national food security.

According to minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the global pandemic and reports of desert locust outbreak in East Africa and the Middle East with the possibility of spill-over of the huge locust swarm into West Africa including Nigeria, necessitated the proactive measures, including control of all trans boundary pest to ensure uninterrupted food supply in the country, reports This Day.

In the case of the desert locust invasion, it is said that just a single square kilometre of swarm can contain up to 80 million adults, with the capacity to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN is continuing its efforts to combat the invasion in the affected regions in partnership with the World Bank, other developmental organizations and governments.

In a statement, the minister said the government is determined to fight any menace that would truncate the tremendous success recorded so far especially in the agricultural sector.

Other initiatives undertaken by the government that will ensure food security, job creation and boost the economy in the country include the recently launched US$1.2billion agricultural programme debut “The Green Imperative” aimed to revolutionize the sector by promoting agriculture mechanization.

The program is a product of the Nigeria’s decision, dating back to June 6, 2016, to enrol in Brazil’s government-to-government More Food International Programme (MFIP), to be implemented over a period of five to 10 years.

The project will embark on the reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements, with importation of the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements for local assembly annually for a period of 10 years.

It will also establish 142 agro-processing service centres for value addition, with one centre in each senatorial district, together with 632 mechanisation service centres to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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